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Prince Harry plays in Sentebale Polo Cup in Ghantout

posted on 21/11/2014

British Royal Prince Harry this evening led his polo team to victory, scoring 5-4 on behalf of his Charity Sentebale, during a match that was held at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club in Abu Dhabi, under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Prince's charity Sentebale, which provides healthcare and education for children affected with HIV/AIDS in the African nation of Lesotho, hopes to raise funds to help thousands of children and young people in Losotho live a better quality life with the virus.

The annual Sentebale Polo Cup has attracted a host of Emirati and international dignitaries including Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, British pop-star Geri Halliwell, from 90's girl band Spice Girls, and Joelle, a Dubai-based beauty expert and host of make-over TV show Joelle.

Prince Harry played for the Sentebale Huntsman team against Argentinean Nacho Figueras, Sentebale Ambassador, St. Regis Connoisseur, and Captain of the St. Regis team.

Speaking after the event, Prince Harry expressed his excitement at visiting Abu Dhabi, his second visit to the UAE, after a last year's visit to Dubai to raise funds for his charity, and for the importance of raising funds for Sentebale, which the Prince established alongside Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso of Lesotho, in memory of their mothers.

"Thousands of children lose one or both parents to aids-related illness and poverty every day. They are left alone, orphaned, possibly living with disability and often completely unaware that they are carrying the HIV virus," said Prince Harry.

"Back in 2009 we held the first Sentebale Polo Cup to raise awareness and funding in Barbados. Since then we have taken around the world to the UK, USA, Brazil and today, in Abu Dhabi, spreading the word on our work with the world's most vulnerable children," he added.

The Prince explained that the funds raised through these matches are vital in allowing Sentebole to provide care and education to thousands of these disadvantaged children and young people in Losotho.

Globally HIV is the second highest cause of death amongst those aged between 10 and 19 years old. It is the number one cause of death across Africa.

One of Sentebale's main programmes is to tackle the stigma which surrounds HIV amongst young people of Lesotho, the majority of whom contracted the disease in the womb.

Prince Harry went on to say that the money raised will go towards teaching many more HIV positive young people how to live with the virus.

"Our aim is that by educating these children and creating networks where they can discuss their concerns we will start to tackle the stigma surrounding HIV," he said.

"I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for allowing us to use the stunning grounds of Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club and all of the sponsors without whom this event simply would have not been possible," he concluded.

Cathy Ferrier, Chief Executive of Sentebale said, "Sentebale is delighted to be hosting our Sentebale Polo Cup in Abu Dhabi this year. This event is extremely important to the charity, and allows us to continue to help and support some of the most vulnerable children in the world, through our work in Lesotho. We are very grateful for the generous support of all our sponsors who make this event possible." - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi wins F1 contract extension

posted on 21/11/2014

The Formula 1 race is to stay in Abu Dhabi past 2016 due to a multi-year contract extension announced on Thursday.

Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management's agreement with Formula 1 World Championship Limited had been due to expire after the 2016 race.

The announcement reflects both parties ambition to "lock in” the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit "for future years at an early opportunity”, the Abu Dhabi company said.

"This race and the Yas Marina Circuit has introduced Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates to tens of millions of visitors and TV viewers from around the world,” said Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management.

"We remain committed to continually delivering a better experience for the Formula 1 family and ticket holders.”

The weekend of the event welcomes more than 125,000 local and international spectators to the capital and has sold out every year since the 2009 inaugural race, Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management said.

Nearly half of all spectators are overseas visitors to the UAE and attendees represent more than 120 nationalities, according to the company.

For this year's race, Yas Marina Circuit increased its capacity by 20 per cent to 60,000.

"Abu Dhabi has played an important part in pioneering the modern era of Formula 1 racing,” said Bernie Ecclestone, chief executive of the Formula 1 group.

"I said when the Yas Marina Circuit opened that it may one day be matched, but it will never be bettered. The island has continued to transform each year.”

The race weekend in Abu Dhabi involves the largest entertainment programme by any Formula 1 host city, the Abu Dhabi company says.

The Formula 1 motor race started in 1950. More than 450 million TV viewers tuned into last year's race.

The event runs in Abu Dhabi from November 21 to 23. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend kicks off in style

posted on 21/11/2014

It's the biggest sporting carnival of the year – and tens of thousands of people have flocked to the capital to be part of it.

Celebrations for this year's Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix kicked off in style last night as revellers packed the Corniche to watch performances by UAE rockers Nikiton, as well as international acts Juicy J, Chada Hassoun, Jae Franklin and Two Tone for the first night of Yasalam's Beats on the Beach.

The Filipino contingent went wild when pop superstar Charice brought down the curtain.

Emirati Ahmed Mohammed Ali, 23, said: "I just love being here with my friends. They are always fun evenings.”

At Yas Island, Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf got things off to an electric start at the du Arena as the first of four post-race concerts kicked off.

The Arab Idol winner set the tone with a polished performance with a mixture of tracks from his debut album, Assaf, and traditional folk songs. He was followed by Emirati Fayez Al Saeed who wowed the crowd with his smooth Gulf pop style backed by a 10-piece orchestra. In the coming days, the venue will host superstar DJ Armin van Buuren, pop star Pharrell Williams and rock and roll legends The Who.

And it is not just the entertainment industry that is capitalising on Grand Prix weekend and drawing in the crowds. Hotels across the capital are reporting capacity bookings, too.

Jethro Salamila, reservation agent at Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, of which part of the Yas Marina Circuit track famously runs underneath, said rooms for the entire Grand Prix weekend were sold out.

"Basically, we require a minimum stay of four nights for the Formula 1, and other events,” he said. "Some guests are coming from Europe, the United States, and others from the Middle East.

"All our in-house guests have the exclusive benefit, so only they can have access to the restaurants and terrace [during event times] where they can watch the race, as well as from the hotel terrace and room balconies.”

A reservation agent at Crown Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island said they were fully booked.

"It is because of the Formula 1, and for the past three or four years, since the Formula 1 race has been occurring, we have been fully booked,” said Rami Azai.

Akil Pratha, reservation supervisor at Centro Yas Island, said his hotel still had some vacancies, with most of guests here specifically for the F1 weekend.

"We still do have some rooms available, not 100 per cent booked,” he said. "Most, of course, are coming for the Formula One, we can say almost 90 per cent for the race.”

And, for the rich and the mega-rich, finding a place to moor their yacht could be problematic. Marina companies say berths have been booked for months in advance in anticipation of the F1 season finale.

Marina companies say berth have been booked for months, with more than 220 yachts from all over the world due to dock, according to Cedric Le Rest, general manager of Yas Marina.

"Race week is our biggest and busiest week of the year, and this year is the most successful yet, attracting huge numbers of both guests and yachts since the event's inception in 2009,” said Mr Le Rest.

"The atmosphere here is electric with yachts arriving from across the region and internationally.”

A new attraction this year is the new Yas Mall nearby, which opened its doors on Wednesday.

The opening day of the 2.5-million-square-metre centre was not without its shortcomings with many of its 370 stores not opened during the week. However, a mall spokesman said that the majority of shops would be open for business when the action gets underway today for the race's three practice sessions. – The National -


UAE flag made out of buses sets new Guinness World Record

posted on 21/11/2014

In celebration of National Day, the Department of Transport (DoT) set a world record for forming the largest "bus mosaic” on Tuesday.

The DoT gathered 156 of its buses and divided them into the four colours of the UAE flag, with 39 buses representing each colour.

The department's workers took two weeks to prepare and paint all the buses, which were stationed in Shahama parking yard, about 45km away from the city.

Saeed Al Hameli, adviser to the executive director of surface transport sector and chairman of events committee at the DoT, said the department set the record to increase awareness of the role and importance of public transport.

The record has been verified by Guinness World Record, which handed a certificate to the department.

"This is a new category,” said Samer Khallouf, project manager for the Middle East and North Africa at Guinness World Records.

"We set the minimum requirement to accomplish the record, which was 150 buses. They managed to successfully have 156 buses to form the UAE national flag,” Mr Khallouf said.

The team inspected the number of buses and the paint on them and then used an aerial image to see if the flag was recognisable, he said.

According to the DoT, the completed flag was 36.6 metres long and 145.3 metres wide. Under Guinness World Records' conditions, the minimum requirement for the number of buses was set at 150 for the first-of-its kind attempt. - The National -


Traditional hospitality at UAE's Global Village pavilion

posted on 21/11/2014

The traditional look and feel of the UAE pavilion is a fantastic experience for visitors. The pavilion gives off the impression of being a traditional souk. The design of the sandy coloured facade supports this, and as visitors enter the pavilion the fragrance of the burning bakhoor and oud immediately awaken the senses.

The Al Dhanai store is a regular fixture of the UAE pavilion with Ali Al Dhanai, the owner, bringing his products back to Global Village for the 9th time. While the store is popular for its local honey, bees wax, and honeycomb, the real pull for many visitors is the experience of traditional and renowned Emirati hospitality that they receive at the stall.

The honey is all locally produced in Dibba Fujairah, giving the honey a distinct flavour as it is mainly produced from the flowers on two trees -- sidr and samar. The two trees are said to make very distinctly flavoured honey that is popular amongst tourists and locals.

Every year guests are welcomed and offered traditional Arabic coffee and lulu dates, to reflect the hospitality and generosity of the UAE people. Mohammed Rashid Al Hafiti who works in the store, even offers guests a seat in the store, as Emiratis would to a weary traveller. Some of the tastiest dates that are on offer in Global Village can be found at this stall, with a special mixture of coconut shavings sprinkled on the date.

Mohammed also sells other items, especially locally produced products that have traditional value, namely the Shemagh -- a traditional Emirati head dress -- and the traditional kandura for men. The culturally significant and ever popular yollah, the plastic prop that is regularly used in the traditional Yollah dance, is also on sale, as well as the walking sticks that are used in Emirati dances.

Visitors can expect a true taste of Emirati culture at the UAE pavilion and this will allow tourists, local residents, and Emiratis to see that the hospitable nature of the UAE is still widely sought and highly regarded. – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationgeneral


Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014 calls for a fully connected world

posted on 21/11/2014

Chief Executive Officer of twofour54, Noura Al Kaabi, has wrapped up the 2014 edition of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit (ADMS) by telling delegates that with 7 billion connected individuals forecast by 2020, the media and e-commerce industry may soon be managers of the world's largest and most relevant "mall".

The speech provided an optimistic and forward-looking conclusion to a third and final day of lively, insightful discussions between industry leaders and innovators.

Al Kaabi praised the high calibre and diversity of the speakers, and encouraged all ADMS guests to play their part in driving and sustaining a future media in MENA and beyond. The key challenges now were reaching out to those people not connected and growing and nurturing our young people so that they can fully realise their potential.

"I believe the Abu Dhabi Media Summit is a clear example of how we are all helping to build a positive profile of the Arab World. The future is bright and within the grasp of young people in the Middle East and everywhere," Al Kaabi said.

Earlier in the afternoon, a panel entitled "A Race for the Exits: The Rebound in IPOs and Dealmaking" saw speakers encouraging investors to look beyond tangible assets such as real estate and instead consider IPOs in the fast-growing technology sector.

Co-founder and Managing Director, CedarBridge, Imad Ghandour, said that "given the stability of local currencies and continuous growth of industries, the GCC has a great recipe for success", while Mona DeFrawi, Founder and Managing Partner, IPOQuest Partners, explained that "technology IPOs have high growth momentum and the ability to grow globally." Tom Urquhart, a presenter with Dubai One, moderated the next panel on "Accelerating Start-Ups", which looked at the challenges for new technology businesses in Abu Dhabi and beyond.

Ramesh Jagannathan Research Professor and Associate Dean of Engineering, NYU Abu Dhabi, told potential innovators "you have to believe you can create magic" to persuade others about the benefits of their start-ups. Nina Curley, Managing Director, Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, said that Abu Dhabi is perfectly positioned to become a dynamic global hub for entrepreneurs with "the pieces now coming together for building a viable ecosystem".

A session led by Issa Aghabi, Head of Investments at twofour54, compared the differing approach of two companies – one local and one global – to starting a business in the same sector in MENA. Magnus Olsson, Founder and Managing Director, Careem, explained that his ground transportation company focussed on providing a reliable service based on a call-centre model made accessible to local customers.

In contrast, Jambu Palaniappan, Regional General Manager of Middle East and Africa, Uber, set out his view that technology scales better than people and that companies could avoid the burdens of call centres by relying on technology. The panel generated an insightful discussion on the pros and cons of each business structure.

The final session of ADMS 2014 was an interview between Badr Jafar, Managing Director, Crescent Group and Fadi Ghandour, Founder and Vice Chairman, Aramex, on the challenges facing innovators in raising finance in the MENA region. Ghandour remarked that "innovation is the ability to take pieces of knowledge and use them to affect people's lives – the process requires a symbiotic relationship between innovators and industry". Ghandour stressed that the Arab world had to adopt more of a solutions-based mentality and do more to provide the financial and legal structures needed to support business. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE Embassy in Rome activates eAuthentication system

posted on 21/11/2014

ROME: Ambassador of the UAE to Italy, Saqr Naeer Al Raissi, has overseen the activation of the new electronic authentication system in the presence of the members of the UAE diplomatic mission and consular section and a delegation of information technology experts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

Earlier, the MoFA delegation trained the consular section employees on the use of the new eAuthentication software and system.

Al Raissi thanked the delegation for their professional training skills and efforts in ensuring the successful implementation of the new system and elevating MoFA's customer service. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE's nuclear regulator seeks public comment on draft radiation safety regulation

posted on 21/11/2014

The UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) yesterday released a draft radiation safety regulation and invited the public to review the draft and comment.

FANR's draft Regulation 19 for Existing Exposure Situations sets legal requirements for managing situations in which controls could be established over unplanned events involving radiation exposure. Such exposures could come from naturally occurring radioactive materials such as radon, from residual radioactive material after a nuclear or radiological emergency has ended (other regulations apply to the emergency phase), or from contaminated food, animal feed, or drinking water.

When an existing exposure situation is identified, the regulation states that a responsible entity will propose a strategy to select appropriate measures to protect people and the environment.

The draft regulation is available on the FANR website Members of the public can send their comments to [email protected] for the next 30 days (from 20 November 2014 to 20 December 2014). FANR's Safety, Security and Safeguards Glossary can help interested readers to understand the specific terminology used in this regulation. FANR will consider all comments before preparing the final regulation.

As with previous regulations, this draft regulation has already been made available for 30 days to local and federal government entities for their comments.

FANR recognises the importance of the public's comments and maintains the highest standards of transparency in accordance with Article 9 of the Federal Law by Decree No 6 of 2009, concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Since FANR's establishment on 24 September 2009, the nuclear regulator has asked its stakeholders to review and comment on various regulations and regulatory guides through either web-based or face-to-face communication. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


flydubai raises US$500m in 5-year Sukuk

posted on 21/11/2014

Dubai Aviation Corporation, also known as flydubai, on Thursday said its US$500 million debut sukuk was oversubscribed over 6 times, indicating strong investor appetite.

The five-year sukuk was priced at a profit rate of 3.776 per cent, equivalent to 200 basis points over the mid-swaps. About 150 investors placed orders worth US$3 billion (Dh11 billion).

"The highly successful offering demonstrates the confidence which international investors place in the Emirate of Dubai and its entities and confirms the access to funding which our corporates enjoy from the Islamic capital markets.

Investors' strong interest resulted in the order book reaching to over US$3 billion, over 6 times of the offer amount. This is a highly successful result that further confirms the credibility of flydubai and the investors' confidence in the promising outlook for flydubai, and Dubai's status as a leading global aviation hub," Sheikh Ahmad bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, and Chairman of flydubai, said in a statement.

"The outcome is a testament to the invaluable support provided by the Government of Dubai to our institution and the wider industry, and part of the ongoing visionary leadership of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed added.

"Orders were received from a wide range of high quality fixed income investors, including fund managers, private banks, and banks from a wide geographic spread across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and offshore US. The high-quality and diversified order book enabled flydubai to price the transaction at a very tight spread, after two price revisions," said flydubai.

The sukuk issuance saw a geographic distribution of 64% to Middle East accounts, 25% to European accounts, 7% to Asia, and an additional 4% to US offshore.

In terms of types of investors, the sukuk issuance saw a diverse allocation with 65% to banks, 20% to fund managers, 8% to private banks and an additional 7% going to other types of investors.

Credit Agricole, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Noor Bank and Standard Chartered are the arrangers for the sukuk sale. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Rashid to honour 43 top position holders on 1st December in Abu Dhabi

posted on 21/11/2014

Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will honour the first 43 UAE top position holders in various fields, in a grand ceremony on 1 December in Abu Dhabi with special national medals, a special yearbook as well as through incorporating their names in the government's archives.

The Ministry of Cabinet Affairs said that hundreds of top achievers and innovators in social, economic, scientific, literary and educational fields were nominated by the public in more than 85,000 shares and comments through Arabic hashtag #Awa'el_Al Emarat- Emirati First Position Holders.

On 14 November, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid ( @HHShkMohd ) took to twitter to call upon the public and his followers on social media networks to nominate the first 43 role models in the UAE to honour them as part of the celebrations of the UAE's 43rd National Day on 2 December.

"We like first places, appreciate those who work for them," Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gargawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, stressed that H.H. Sheikh Mohammed constantly follows the public's participation and nominations and expressed his satisfaction with the wide response to his call.

He noted that H.H. Sheikh Mohammed himself has nominated a group of individuals for the honour.

A special committee, Minister Al Gargawi noted, is reviewing the nominations and is verifying the eligibility of nominees in collaboration with the relevant authorities.

According to H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid's directives, the honouring of the first position holders will be an annual tradition that will promote the Emiratis' passion for top places and for being the first to venture into new fields, Al Gargawi further noted.

"This will also highlight the Emirati top-achievers who worked sincerely since the establishment of the UAE towards consolidating the union and raising its flag high in all circles," Al Gargawi said.

On her part, Ohood Al Roumi, Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office, in a call-in radio talkshow, said a large team is working 24/7 on filtering the participations and nominations to produce a short list and communicate with the relevant authorities and parties to verify the eligibility of nominees.

She noted that H.H. Sheikh Mohammed's initiative is very much about his own philosophy of leadership as well as his passion for first places, and that he focuses on highlighting success stories in the UAE as sources of inspiration for the coming generations.

Sheikh Mohammed, in his call for the nominations, said that the public can nominate people from any field, including the first UAE coach, pilot, or other professions where they were the first to achieve their goals.

"We Emirati people value all those who aim to be number one and to set an example for their country; hence the idea of honouring 43 distinguished individuals on the occasion of the UAE's 43rd National Day." "We want the community to nominate the top achievers, such as first Emirati doctor, female ambassador, first Emirati to climb Mount Everest or those from other academic, sports, social and professional fields, so as to honour and show our appreciation to them during the UAE's 43rd National Day celebrations," H.H. Sheikh Mohammed added. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –